Schoolgirl dies after being locked in private bus

A four-and-half-year-old Pakistani girl studying in a kindergarten in Mussaffah industrial area died Thursday afternoon after allegedly being locked inside a private bus for at least three hours, the girl's father told Gulf News.

Image Credit:Supplied picture
Four-and-half-year-old Aiman Zeeshan was studying in a kindergarten in Mussaffah industrial area in Abu Dhabi.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: A four-and-half-year-old Pakistani girl studying in a kindergarten in Mussaffah industrial area died on Thursday afternoon after allegedly being locked inside a private bus for at least three hours, the girl's father told Gulf News.

"Aiman Zeeshan used to go to the school by a private vehicle arranged by me," Zeeshanuddin, the child's father said.

"But when I went to pick her up from the school yesterday, I was told that she had not reached school," he said. The girl was supposed to be in school by 7.45am when the class begins.

"When contacted, the Pakistani driver told me he would check and later told me to reach Mussaffah industrial area where he had parked his vehicle.

"I was shocked to see the body of my child on the back seat of the vehicle", Zeeshanuddin said.

"It seems he left her behind on the back seat of the vehicle and locked it from outside", he said. He was not in a position to give more details.

Confirming the incident, a police official told Gulf News that cause of death is not known yet but the negligence of the driver is suspected in the case as per the preliminary investigation. The time and cause of the death will be confirmed after the autopsy, he added.

The school principal told Gulf News the girl was absent in the school several days until Tuesday. "On Wednesday, the class teacher wrote a note to the parents to send her regularly to the school.

Sometimes her father used to drop her and otherwise she came by the private vehicle but never took school bus", he explained. He said he was not aware of a regulation which insists that schools have to inform the parents if kindergarten pupils do not reach the school.

With inputs from Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporter.

Your comments

What a sorry affair! I am really saddened.
Mustafa Shabbir
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: May 15, 2009, 17:40

Very sad incident. Drivers - either parents or professional drivers - have to be extra careful while getting out of their vehicles to make sure that everyone has got out of the vehicle. A small error on the side of the driver, and see how miserable ending it has summed up as!
Agniyah Shaikh
Posted: May 15, 2009, 17:15

I am shocked and disturbed after reading the news. Need special training for school bus drivers to avoid such painful incidents. I suggest the parents should inform the class teacher within a certain time limit if their child unable to attend the class. If it is compulsory the teacher can follow up about the missing.
V. P. Thomas
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: May 15, 2009, 16:51

This is not the first time that we have read of bus drivers locking the bus without checking whether all pupils have got off the bus. The bus driver and attendant should be punished severely. Now is the time for the authorities to come down strictly with some punishment. Like black points for traffic violations, bus drivers should have their licences revoked for at least two years. This will teach them to be more careful. Deepest sympathies to the bereaved. What the child has faced, no one will know.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: May 15, 2009, 16:49

All the above comments are away from the fact. This is mentioned in the news that father of the girl arrange private bus which is not like a school bus and this way school is not responsible. Also private buses was not regular school bus to have attendance with driver.
Posted: May 15, 2009, 16:42

Posted: May 15, 2009, 16:38

This incident did not happen in the school bus. As the little one's father had conveyed, the bus service arranged was a private one and the school management makes sure that they take care of minute details in the school's transport service. This is a pure case of serious negligence from the driver's part as he should make sure that no one is left behind once he leaves the bus. I am a student of the school in question and can say with confidence that the school is not at all responsible for this incident in any way. My deepest condolences to the family of the little one. May God help them overcome and recover from this unbearable pain.
A Reader
Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emirates
Posted: May 15, 2009, 16:32

Negligence at the part the school and driver. Driver is not the sole responsible; school is as well - since they didn't comply with the procedure to inform the parent at first place.
Nabeel Mirza
Posted: May 15, 2009, 15:14

Driver should be responsible. Not only for himself, but responsible for all the people inside the bus, and it is his duty to check every day on time dropping all children. Because you don?t know what could be inside the buss after you park it.
Cagayan ee Oro Ccity,Philippines
Posted: May 15, 2009, 15:02

How can you imagine the bus attendee leaving the bus without properly checking it before it is locked? Such incidents have happened before. Authorities should train the bus attendees to properly check the bus before parking every time. Also very important thing to note that most of the pupils studying in lower classes have a habit to sleep in the bus as this is normal. Hence bus attendees should be extra cautious to deal with children.
Mohammad Abdul Waheed Akheel
Sharjah,United Arab Emirates
Posted: May 15, 2009, 14:03

It's shocking to read about such mishaps. Something that can be easily prevented if only the drivers or their assistants take extra care to ensure that all pupils have left the bus before locking it up, especially with Dubai's summer weather. My condolences to the bereaved.
S. Mustafa
Posted: May 15, 2009, 13:57

A school bus must have one driver and one child attendant on board to secure the safety of children to prevent disasters like this.
Posted: May 15, 2009, 13:53

This is a very serious issue and it should be addressed very carefully. First of all bus driver should be involved in the interrogation and secondly there should be a strict rule for the schools to provide pick and drop facility to the young pupils. I don?t know for what they are charging high fees from the parents.I think school management is also responsible for this sad incident.
Faisal Rafique
Posted: May 15, 2009, 13:36

This is just another case which proves the negligence of schools and drivers. The school is just as involved in this negligence as the driver is. I never forget the article I once read about the schoolboy who was left sleeping in the bus in the early morning hours and was found dead at the end of the school day. Had the school contacted the parents that day to know the reason of his absence, this would not have happened.It doesn't make any sense writing to parents or waiting some days. If a child doesn't reach school, the school is then obliged to call the parents the very same day as soon as they realise the child is absent. May God help the parents in this difficult time.
Nadia Hussain Al Kabani
Dubai,United Arab Emirates
Posted: May 15, 2009, 13:32

I have been clearly upset after reading this story. Such mishaps are not uncommon here in UAE. Giving strict warnings to the drivers will not solve this situation. I feel the drivers should maintain an attendance record of whose boarding the bus, just like they do in class and crosscheck while the students get down. My son will be joining school next year and already I have started toying with the idea of obtaining a driving licence only for his sake. If parents start taking such initiatives then don?t get surprised if there are more cars on road.
Rufaida Javid
Posted: May 15, 2009, 12:40

This is not a first time that we have read this news. I think both the government and private sector should look at this issue. I suggest that drivers should be trained to love and respect children and not just drive. They have to think that the lives of these people are in their hands. Also, the authorities should give them training on how to do their job properly.
jerry selayro
Dubai,United Arab emirates
Posted: May 15, 2009, 12:31